The story of Martha and Mary also reminds us that we are not yet in heaven and that this world is sorely fallen. On the one hand, Christ’s presence and miraculous deeds cause some to believe and follow Him…on the other, the same causes intrigue, malice and dissent. The best example of this reality within the context of this story is found in John 11: 45-47:
Therefore, many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
The actions of those whose intentions were to stir chaos, eventually resulted in the process of Jesus’ persecution, mock trial and execution.
I often forget that this is not our home. I get so caught up in the things of this world that I mistakenly begin to feel as if this is it. Then, when things go wrong, I wonder why. When things do go my way, I am surprised. When disappointment, pain, suffering and trial come, I despair. The root of my state of shock is that I expect this world to offer me the benefits of heaven, right here…right now. But it is just not possible.
The other morning, Dylan discovered I had brought home some rather delicious doughnuts for breakfast and he was delighted! He took one bite and said: “WOW! I wonder if we will have these in Heaven? If we do, I could just eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and never gain weight…always be able to still be light! Isn’t Heaven fun?”
Dan and I laughed at his childish enthusiasm for the treat. Today, I think back on that moment and I realize that Dylan actually has a better understanding of Heaven than me.
He knows that we only get a glimpse of what is to come here on Earth. He knows that the benefits of our heavenly home are impossible to be fully enjoyed while we are still here on this world. He anticipates the day when Heaven would be a reality and he rejoices dreaming about it. He knows it will be different. He knows it will be perfectly delightful!
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21: 3-4
Just as it was true in the days of Martha and Mary, when people who witnessed the same glory and radiance of Christ reacted differently as an illustration of the fact that heaven is not on earth yet…it is still the same today, when life and its misfortunes catch us by surprise. This is not heaven. We are still toiling in the land of tears.
The important thing is to remember that “blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life!” James 1: 12 And that in the meantime, we ought to keep our eyes on the price,
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 12-14